Composting at the GrassRoots Festival
We're looking to the future, folks, and what we're seeing isn't always pretty. That's why we're making a big effort to move toward a zero-waste festival. We've always done a job that we're pretty darn proud of. We've been recycling since the beginning, and composting for 14 years. In fact, in 2008, we diverted 10,000 pounds of waste from the landfill by composting it, which is amazing and wonderful. Still, we know we can do even better... but we need your help! When you arrive at one of our Removables Stations, you'll discover three bins: Compost, Recycling, and Utter Trash.
This year, same as last, you'll discover that every bit of "tableware" that you are given by a food vendor is compostable: plates, cups, forks, spoons, knives, straws, chopsticks... they can all go in the compost bin. The things that look like plastic are actually made of corn polymers which can be turned back into fancy dirt at an industrial composting facility. All of your food scraps can be composted as well, even meat and dairy, and paper scraps can go in there as well.
Most everything else, you'll discover, is recyclable or redeemable. This includes glass and plastic bottles, cans, and most plastic containers. Bonus: the return deposits from all cans and bottles goes toward the Tompkins County Cops, Kids and Toys program, which purchases holiday gifts for lower-income families. It's definitely worth the tiny bit of effort it takes to sort out your stuff!
The last category is just sheer and utter trash. There likely won't be much that goes into this bin, but things like errant bits of styrofoam (blech!) that traveled with you from home, dirty diapers, cigarette butts, etc. We understand that sometimes trash does happen, but let's make sure that if it's not trash, we put it in the right place. If you have questions, just ask the volunteers who will be staffing most of the waste stations. They'll be happy to answer your questions. And if you'd like to learn more about composting in your own home, stop by the Compost Booth - they've got all sorts of information for the beginning and intermediate composter!
Remember, one of the very best things you can do it re-use... bring bowls, cups, plates, and silverware of your own, and wash them between meals. There are spigots at a few different locations around the fairgrounds, and if you give them a quick rinse right after you eat, they'll be clean for the next time around. The amount of waste you'll save is impressive. Example: a family of four eats three vendor meals per day over the four days of the festival, and brings their own dishware: they'll save 48 plates or bowls, 48 cups, 48 forks, 48 spoons, and probably a handful of knives, chopsticks, condiment cups, and other bits of things. That is HUGE! Are you up for that challenge? Bonus points if you bring those old coffee cups and cracked plates that are sitting in your attic (everyone has that box, right?) and give them to your festival neighbors!
Let's all work together on this! Re-use what you can, recycle and compost what you can't, and use the trash can as a very last resort. We can make a difference!